Objectif TMT1: 150K & 8’400M+
Thailand Mountain Trail has spent several years to investigate the most remote mountain trails in Northern Thailand before creating TGR1, the first Thai Great Route and long footpath of the country (LINK). Thanks to our extensive knowledge of those areas and long relationship with local people, our organization is the only one to bring runners and trekkers in those mountains far from the tourists.
This 5-day trip will bring us on the whole TGR1 route from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao. We will cross the sacred mountain of Doi Pui at the doorsteps of Chiang Mai, the wild valleys and jungles in Karen areas, the high country of Hmong and Lahu tribes until the unique mountain range of Chiang Dao. Through remote areas with stations and overnights organized in hill-tribe villages, we will live a real adventure and discover a unique Thailand.
Characteristics of the Trip
17,450 THBAll-inclusive price
Starting from Chiang Mai the 1st day in the early hours of the morning, we hike up directly on a pilgrim trail used by monks. Without transition we pass into rocky terrain which lasts until the almost fairy tale appearance of Wat Palaad, nestling on the bank of a river. A few kilometres further on the course crosses the site of Wat Doi Suthep, one of the most holy temples in Thailand.
The route runs down the dizzyingly steep staircase from the temple, and then, without a break, plunges headlong into its first stretch of jungle. We run 10k in this wonderful atmosphere surrounded by long green tunnels on undulating paths punctuated by fallen branches and trees.
As we emerge from the jungle after a break in a hill-tribe village, the slope gets progressively harder and becomes so steep that we have to use our hands to help us at some points. We reach a magnificent line of ridges edged in pine trees before summiting Doi Pui then Doi Pa Klong, the two highest summits around Chiang Mai (1625m and 1575m).
Finally we plunge for a very long downhill in a pine forest until our hotel. We will sleep at Botanic Resort a beautiful and peaceful hotel surrounded by green mountains. After running, we will have time to enjoy the swimming pool and nice Thai food in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a perfect place to recover before the 2nd running day.
On the 1st day we start our trip from Mae Sa valley by running alternatively in deep jungle and through fields, up and down. First we hike up the mountains until reaching a couple of farms hold by Hmong people. Then we tackle a dense and long jungle before reaching the valley of Mae Khi for a break.
Emerging from a long stretch of jungle into a wide valley is like taking a sudden lungful of air after a long period of holding your breath. Soon when the horizon opens up again, we can see all the green hills around.
The second part of the run leads us through the Karen valleys. After 20kms from the start we finally reach the first rice paddies carved into the hillsides, like huge staircases of greenery. Crossing the terraced rice fields is an obstacle race for tired runners. To run across the strips of grass without falling you have to learn how to keep your balance.
When we see the first roofs of the village, the Karen village of Mae Kha is not far away. It’s a wonderful place to stay overnight. People live simply and are happy to welcome us; they live in deep contact with nature. After enjoying a deserved shower directly at a waterfall, we will share a meal for dinner with local families. We will sleep in comfortable wood houses besides the rice fields.
In the early morning we quit the village with regret by one of its mountain slopes, gradually leaving its wattle and daub roofs behind you. After hiking a steep trail until the summit of the day (1350m) through a dense stretch of forest, as we go back down towards the valley, the rooftops of Wat Prabat Si Loi suddenly appear below us, about halfway down.
After a break there, we leave the temple behind and take a dirt track to cross the valley of Pha Daen. The route goes down for 10k through Karen mountains and valleys surrounded by a perfect mix of rice fields, villages and jungle.
Soon we leave the Karen areas by tackling a remarkable, dense bamboo jungle, acting as a natural frontier between Karen country and Hmong country. While the former live in the valley, the latter live in the high country. We will sleep in a Hmong village called Mong Ngo located at 1300m high on a pass with wonderful scenery down the valley.
After a long way down through jungle and forest, surrounded by an ocean of greenery, the route enters a magical little valley by a dirt track which runs along the bank of the magnificent Mae Taeng River. This 4th day is a perfect opportunity to recover: the first 18k are down or flat.
The only big difficulty of the day is the last part of the route before reaching the overnight village. It’s a hike up of 3kms very steep. At the top, the reward is huge: reaching the mountain ridge where the village of Kup Kap is located we enjoy a magnificent and distant view over the valley of Chiang Mai and Mae Taeng. The sunset is comng soon.
We will sleep there in bamboo houses built in the purest traditional Lahu style. We will be welcomed by some families and Lahu kids eager to discuss or play with foreigners. After enjoying the scenery and the great atmosphere of the village until the end of sunset, it will be time to share a great meal with one of the local family.
From Kup Kap for the last day of the trip, the run is mountainous and the atmosphere is more alpine. First we conquer the summit of Doi Pha Sam Liam (1650m) after a very steep way up. Once at the peak as far as our eyes can see, we can enjoy a sea of green mountains all around.
Continuing on a ridge in a beautiful pine forest, we arrive at Doi Pakhia (1680m) and can observe for the 1st time the massive mountain range of Chiang Dao. Standing out against the sky, it is the only alpine mountain in Thailand. With a profusion of lesser peaks and ridges, it is also the most imposing and beautiful one.
In the Hmong village of Pakhia, we will make a break at the foothill of the mountain range before tackling with the final part. Depending on the time of the year, we go through or around the massif from south to north. Whatever the route, we will go up for another tough 700m elevation gain on a steep path. In this atmosphere of sheer cliffs and spectacular rock wallsn after a long technical descent, we will reach our final point, the Lisu village of Na Lao Mai.
Chiang Mai Gate Hotel is situated in the prime location of Chiang Mai – the Wua Lai Community, an old silverware manufacturing community where the fascinating lifestyle and activities of the locals can be discovered and experienced. It is conveniently located on Suriyarong Road, only about 200 meters from Chiang Mai Gate and the heart of the old city. Chiang Mai Gate Hotel provides nicely decorated rooms in the traditional Lanna Thai style. Clean and comfortable all air-conditioned rooms with full facilities.
Chiang Dao Nest enjoys an idyllic setting, in a peaceful, mountainous valley. It is situated on a dead-end road and on the fringe of a National Park, Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary. On the site of the resort itself, and the immediate surrounds, nature is abundant. Nest is also home to some spectacularly tall and elegant dipterocarp trees, and also some gigantic bamboo. Chiang Dao Nest consists of 14 bungalows. Each bungalow has a private, ensuite toilet / shower room. The walls of all the cabins are constructed from double layers of bamboo. This gives them a really cosy, natural feel. An outdoor swimming pool is also available for customers.